Thursday, April 21, 2016

Orzotto!


I totally invented a new word, if not the dish it refers to (I think). *pats self on back*

Now, if this is already a "thing", or if you've heard the word used before, don't tell me. I got 45 minutes of sleep last night and I need this victory today. 

So we're moving in about a month (lease is up and we need to upgrade to a bigger place) and to minimise the amount of kitchen packing I have to do, I'm trying to use up a lot of pantry ingredients. What I don't want to do, is to get stuck in an endless loop of boring pasta meals. Cue drumroll. 

Expanding on my previous Masala Meatballs recipe, I found another scrumptious was to use up that harissa, some olive tapenade, and one of the remnants of a bag of pasta in the cupboard. The idea is much like a risotto: using the starch to make a dish creamy. But, instead of arborio rice, I used orzo. Boiled in salted water until still a bit firm (al dente), then drained and finished in the main dish so that it would thicken up the sauce and pull it all together. On a side note: it's even better as leftovers; the flavors just deepen and make it oh so much yummier on day 2. Make a big batch, you'll thank me.


First of all, start with your eggplant (aubergine). I don't know if they're in season somewhere, but they're 49p in Aldi and Lidl right now, and I love it, so bring on the eggplant recipes. We also got a massive sack (one of those mesh ones that oranges come in) of tomatoes for £1.20 at Lidl so it's been tomato week in our house, trying to use them up before they go bad. And, thanks to this recipe, we succeeded. 

Oh, and one quick side note: if you can't find ground (mince) lamb at your supermarket/butcher, you can substitute with pork, but it's soooo much better if you can get your hands on lamb. Sorry, most of America. I know it's not a meat that's widely available over there. (Costco has it, though, if you can get to one - and if you're in the Philadelphia area, the butchers in the Italian Market have ground lamb. I know this for a fact. Good luck!)


Since I made this recipe up as I went, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out the "missing flavor". I knew it was umami, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Turns out it was a pinch of cinnamon (the dish doesn't end up tasting of cinnamon at all, trust me, it just works) and a heaped teaspoon of olive tapenade. I didn't have any kalamata olives on hand, but I did have a jar of this stuff, and I know that olives are a key component in a Moroccan flavor profile, and right I was (luckily). So, if you have olives, use those, and if not, go for the tapenade. If you serve bread with this meal, maybe make some bruschetta-type little toasts and shmear some tapenade on those, too.


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